Monday, January 24, 2005

Drinking deeply from the well of history

I am a recovering History-Hater. Thanks to a few high school teachers who had less than captivating charm about their teaching methodologies, I grew up with a strong distaste for the study of history.

Then I came across Undaunted Courage, arguably Stephen Ambrose's best work. Though more properly a biography of Lewis, it recounts the journeys of Lewis and Clark and leaves us with a profound sense for the times in which this landmark expedition was undertaken.

Reading Ambrose awoke in me a realization that I was missing a historical sense, a connection to my past. I have since been more and more interested in history, and I got an excellent dose of it through several classes during my graduate work.

I am a future-thinking person, and history gives to me a sense of where I stand and why I am here and not somewhere else (or someone else). It reminds me that most of the great problems of the past are still here, in barely-concealed masks. It reminds me that I am not my own but rather stand on the accomplishments (and suffer from the failures) of those who have gone before me. The people of the past are, for better or for worse, my fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers.

I was reminded of all this by an article I ran across that recounts ten excellent reasons to study the history of the Christian faith, all compelling thoughts from our friends over at Christian History and Biography.

1 comment:

ted said...

You know, Mormons spend a great deal of time (relatively speaking) studying their church history. Yet, how many Christians could tell you the story of how the Protestant church came to be? Or even why it is referred to as "Protestant?"

The danger here is that so few people spend time studying their own spiritual heritage (including me) that there is a very real risk in the Christian faith of losing some of these stories for no other reason then having them just become forgotten.